PRESENT: Chairman Perkins, Councilor Hathaway, Councilor Friedman, Councilor King, Councilor Parker, Manager W. Reed, Deputy Clerk K. Humphrey, Parks & Recreation Director R. Young, Police Chief M. Leonard, Assessor/CEO A. Thomas, Superintendent Clenchy, Principal Nichols, Scott Oliver of Glacier Energy, Tom Lewis and Dave Merritt of Penquis CAP, Travis Noyes of CES, Inc., Jason Bird of EMDC, Don MacKay, Gary Brooks, Cathy Brooks
ITEM 1. The December 7, 2009 Veazie Town Council meeting was called to order at 7:00PM.
ITEM 2. Consideration of the Minutes
Motion By: Councilor King —to accept the November 2, 2009 meeting minutes as amended. Seconded: Councilor Parker, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 3. Consideration of the Agenda
Manager Reed outlined that Superintendent Clenchy wanted to come and update the Council on the current RSU use agreements. This was added as item 4e.
Chairman Perkins stated that he would like to postpone Penquis CAP’s presentation until a later date. He felt the presentation was premature and that the Council had appointed a committee to look into the reuse of the building and should allow the committee to do so.
Councilor Friedman suggested letting Penquis CAP do their presentation since they were present with the understanding that no decisions would be made. It was the consensus of the Council for Penquis CAP to give their presentation.
ITEM 4a. Glacier Energy Presentation
Scott Oliver of Glacier Energy gave a presentation on the business. There are three components to electricity: generation, distribution & delivery, and supply. Glacier Energy is a supplier, its goal is to save on the supply side of the bill. Their goal is 8-15%. Their true savings come from their business model. Everything is outsourced. They are also a green company and they send out an e-bill by e-mail. They do not have a billing or collections department. They take that savings and put it back against the cost of electricity.
Councilor Perkins inquired whether the Town would see a lot of variability. Scott Oliver stated that it was possible. He added that there is no contract, it is month to month with no cost in and no cost out. Currently they have Fairfield, Topsham, Vasselboro, China, Blue Hill, Milford and Penobscot County Commissioners as customers. Chairman Perkins inquired whether any schools have signed up. Scott Oliver stated that Milford and Orono have signed up. Superintendent Clenchy stated that Orono and Veazie have been signed up since July 1st and are very pleased.
ITEM 4b. Penquis CAP Presentation
Tom Lewis of Penquis CAP outlined that at this time they were prepared to move ahead and thinks they could get funding in this round of spring funding.
The building would be three floors and the roof would have to be raised four to five feet but with the type of roof they are using would appear about the same size. All units would be one bedroom apartments.
Tom Lewis outlined that they would have to submit their application for funding in April and would have to go through the planning board process before submitting application.
Councilor Hathaway outlined that it was unfortunate to have a committee and an opportunity collide on a time line. He added that the Town has a good track record with Penquis CAP and it also has an issue with the loss of tax from the removal of the dam. It’s unfortunate that we have tried having the building developed, it didn’t work. Councilor Hathaway thought it would be wrong as a community to allow this opportunity to be passed by.
Donald MacKay, a member of the Community Center Redevelopment Advisory Committee, stated that the committee wanted to avoid the conception that the building doesn’t have any value. Penquis CAP wants it, so obviously there is some value. He outlined that there is a lot of interest in the building for recreation uses. For office space its probably not the right spot. The various ideas that have been entertained by the committee included: teen center, indoor basketball, yoga classes, karate, meeting place for book club, AA meetings, rental space for showers, parties and dances.
It was noted that the time line of the committee was to have a final decision in August. Tom Lewis of Penquis CAP outlined that they would have to know in January in order to move ahead with their plans.
Councilor Parker requested that the Community Center Redevelopment Advisory Committee come to the January meeting to give an update on their progress. The consensus of the Council was for the committee to give an update at the next meeting.
ITEM 4c. Committee Appointment
Motion By: Councilor King—to appoint Robert Jackson to the Community Center Redevelopment Advisory Committee to a term of three years. Seconded: Councilor Friedman, Voted 5-0 in favor.
ITEM 4d. Penobscot River Restoration Update
Manager Reed stated that currently Jason Bird of EMDC is working with the Community Center Redevelopment Advisory Committee and staff would like to expand the agreement to include the project of looking at the reuse of the power house. The Penobscot River Restoration Trust will make a donation towards the cost of the additional work.
Manager Reed also suggested perhaps having the Community Center Redevelopment Advisory Committee look at the reuse of the power house. It was the consensus to add the project. Councilor Parker inquired if a time could be set up to take a tour of the building. Manager Reed stated he thought it would be possible and would set up a time with the Committee.
ITEM 4e. Superintendent Update
There was discussion over the current use agreement. It is not the intent of the Town to bill the RSU for services provided. Currently in-kind services are being provided by all three towns. The Town will continue this way until another Town within the RSU changes its policy in which case Veazie will reevaluate our policy.
Councilor Hathaway stated that there was a $220,000 bill in the warrant for the RSU. He outlined that he would like to see some backup for that, for instance what it is for. Superintendent Clenchy outlined that state law does not require them to send an “invoice” every month. The RSU now sends the Town an assessment letter just like the Sewer District.
Superintendent Clenchy stated that there will be a $295,000 shortage in state subsidy this year and an estimated $1.2 million next year. Overall the RSU has a budget of $20 million.
ITEM 5a. Police Department Update
Chief Leonard stated that the department has been very busy. Two months ago they had 25 car burglaries and recently some residential burglaries. Chief Leonard outlined that his unmarked cruiser was hit by a suspect fleeing from Bangor Police. The insurance company decided to total the vehicle. It takes 60-120 days to get a replacement so one has been ordered. The equipment will need to be placed in the new cruiser and will cost the town, however the department will request restitution from the suspect which will cover that cost.
Councilor Friedman outlined that he believed the Charter required a purchase process for anything $10,000 or more and required it to come before the Council for consideration. He added that at the last meeting the appraiser had not looked at the car yet and now between last meeting and this meeting a new car has already been ordered. Manager Reed outlined that the document Councilor Friedman was referring to was not part of the Charter and in fact Manager Reed had never seen what the Councilor had before. He also noted that the Town has not used a purchase policy during the past. Manager Reed outlined that past practice was being used.
It was outlined that perhaps the Council did not want to purchase another Dodge cruiser that perhaps it wanted to do something different like lease or not even replace the cruiser at all at this time.
Councilor Parker outlined that the Town would actually be saving money. The Police Department was schedule to purchase a cruiser this year however will not have to now due to getting a new cruiser covered by insurance and restitution.
Chief Leonard pointed out that any difference in cost that the insurance doesn’t cover they will get from the suspects insurance. The Town may have to float the cost until it is reimbursed.
There was discussion on the different car models used by different fleets in the State. Chief Leonard outlined it is costly to convert equipment over to a different model car and that is why a lot of departments with large fleets remain with the same model. Councilor King outlined that he had spoken with Whittens and got an estimate of around $2,800 to convert equipment over to a different model. Chief Leonard stated that when he had looked into the process the estimate he received was around $7,000.
Chairman Perkins stated that if the Town buys anything over $10,000 he wants to know about it before it is purchased.
There was discussion over misinformation that was given when the Police Department requested to buy an SUV with one of the reasons being that snow tires were not made at the time for the Dodge Charger. It was noted that there are now snow tires available for the car.
Chief Leonard stated that he never presented anything in a fictitious form. At the time the department purchased the SUV, snow tires were not made for the Dodge Charger since then tires have been developed. Chief Leonard outlined that they use the snow tires on the cruisers now and it allows them to use the SUV less. Chief Leonard noted that before the cruiser had snow tires the department used chains which it still has.
Chief Leonard stated that he in no means intended to violate any policy purchasing the replacement for the totaled cruiser. If it was done out of order he apologized. It was noted that funds were available and maintenance of the fleet was necessary, Manager Reed approved and concurred with the purchase order.
A member of the public inquired why the cruiser was in Bangor. Chief Leonard stated that the entire county has a mutual aid pact and he was assisting on a high speed chase.
Chairman Perkins asked about interstate patrols. Chief Leonard explained that the State Police are not on the road between 2:00am and 6:00am so during the winter months they do a loop on the interstate to make sure no one is off the road or broken down during those hours. It was pointed out that there is a good mile of interstate in Veazie. Councilor Hathaway outlined that the State’s reduction in services have increased ours.
Chairman Perkins stated that he has heard from a lot of people that they are seeing the Veazie cruiser in Old Town, Bangor, etc. He added that when there was a fire on Highview Terrace apparently the SUV reported to the incident speeding with its lights and sirens on from Orono. Chief Leonard stated that the officer on duty that day was actually in Orono at a training and he did not respond to the call, in fact the Chief himself respond to the call and he was not driving the SUV. Chairman Perkins encouraged the Police Chief to keep the police cruiser in Veazie as much as possible.
Councilor Friedman discussed that maybe the Town would look into paying mileage to the Chief in the budget process.
It was also discussed that a purchasing policy should be developed and submitted at the next Town Council meeting.
ITEM 5b. Bonding Discussion
The Council discussed the option of bonding to take care of the various paving projects it needs done. It was the consensus of the Council that this was not a good time to looking at bonding. Where the economy is it in its current state, it was the consensus of the Council to table this issue for now.
ITEM 6. Comments from the Public
A member of the public inquired whether the Town bid out all of its jobs. The Council and Manager outlined that the Town does a little bit of everything. It was noted that negotiated contracts were used the most.
ITEM 7. Manager’s Report
a. The Town Council reviewed the MRC Board of Directors Election ballot. Councilor Hathaway and Councilor Friedman recommended John Chisholm. It was the consensus of the Council to cast its vote for Mr. Chisholm.
b. The Town Council reviewed the Penobscot County 2010 Proposed Budget
c. The Town Council reviewed a copy of the Veazie Community Center Renovation Study from CES, Inc.
ITEM 8. Requests for Information and Town Council Comments
Chairman Perkins outlined that there were concerns over why an engineer was present for the majority of the project on Thompson Road when originally it was thought that the Town would not need one to oversee the entire project. Manager Reed outlined that the project became more complex when they had to work around the various utility lines and someone was needed to oversee the project to ensure that it was done correctly by a third party, but the individual was not an engineer he was a technician.
Councilor Hathaway stated that the county was able to hold their budget somewhat stable this year. Next year however the budget will be more due to increased costs in transportation and the new judicial building.
Councilor Parker inquired on how the Town was doing in collecting rent from the current tenant at the Community Center. Manager Reed outlined that Glen Kennedy had not fulfilled the obligation he had with the Town and that staff was working with him. It was outlined that Mr. Kennedy owed the Town an estimated $10,000 in back rent dating back to 2006.
Councilor Hathaway stated that if a tenant doesn’t pay that they should be given 30 days notice and then they have to vacate the building. Chairman Perkins outlined that Mr. Kennedy has done a lot for the community and for the building and that he thinks a lack of communication is to blame for the current situation. Chairman Perkins noted that he knows the individual and would speak to him about the issue. Chairman Perkins disclosed that he teaches at the school but does not have a financial interest in the school.
Councilor Friedman stated he would like Mr. Kennedy to attend the next meeting and have him provide receipts and documentation for the work he has done on the building. Chairman Perkins stated he would like to give Mr. Kennedy until the February Council meeting to come in.
Chairman Perkins stated that he wanted to make sure the Sewer District is considered when the Town exercises a lien. He felt that the Town had “botched” the tax lien incident with the Crowe properties on School Street and State Street. Manager Reed outlined that the correct legal steps were taken in that situation and that a quit claim deed for the properties has not been issued. Councilor Parker added that the Town followed the law and did everything within its legal means. Chairman Perkins reiterated that he still believed that the Town could have legally done a better job of working with the Sewer District on the Crowe property matter.
ITEM 9. Warrants: Town Warrant 8, 9 & 9A, Town Payroll Warrant 8 & 9 were circulated for signature.
ITEM 10. Adjournment: Motion: Councilor King—to adjourn the December 7, 2009 Town Council Meeting. Seconded: Councilor Hathaway —there was no further discussion. Voted 5-0. Meeting adjourned 9:50 pm.
A true record, Attest:
Town of Veazie